A new year often brings turnover to sales teams. A BridgeGroup study found that one in 10 companies experience sales rep turnover rates at a rate above 55%.
Spending time and money rehiring, retraining, and reshuffling territories and quotas for half your workforce simply isn’t sustainable. The first quarter is the right time to rethink your strategy to improve retention throughout the year.
It’s tempting to look at bottom-line compensation rates and bonus structures as the ultimate culprit for front-line sales retention issues when turnover occurs. Yet fostering job satisfaction and creating a highly motivated sales team requires more than just competitive payouts.
To boost sales-retention goals, consider these three factors in tandem with compensation.
1. Onboarding and training
Retention starts from day one, and for new hires, many organizations follow a one-size-fits-all onboarding program. Training is often limited to a physical bootcamp, during which sales reps are bombarded with product materials and market positioning. This structure can leave gaps between individual skills and team-wide sales tactics. Without personalized, ongoing training, many sales reps might feel as if they’re rowing without the right paddles and start looking elsewhere. Set your sales reps up for success and speed onboarding with sales enablement that:
- Offers continuous training via an online model with a sales enablement portal that provides all the training and content sales reps need in one dedicated place
- Provides learning paths and assessments tailored to each sales rep
- Using analytics to directs sales reps to the most current, effective sales and marketing collateral
- Delivers playbooks with sales guidance tips embedded directly within sales campaigns, on any device, anywhere
Implementing a digital sales enablement system that is integrated directly into an organization’s other sales tools not only empowers your reps at every level, but helps demonstrate that they’re walking into a job structure that will support their success from day one.
2. Sales coaching
Just like onboarding and training, sales coaching often tapers off once reps are up to speed on internal operations. Sales managers are responsible for spotting reps’ weaknesses and guiding them to their highest potential. But pressed for time, they often fall into a reactive mode, haranging sales reps into building more pipeline to make their numbers. This only causes morale to drop and sales rep churn.
Visibility into the sales forecast can help managers take a proactive approach to coaching. Modern sales forecasting tools give managers a clear, objective view into the status of deals so they can skip the interrogation. With sales pipeline data, they can focus their coaching efforts to give each member of the team the unique attention they need. Sales reps are held accountable by managers who know precisely which deals have lost momentum or stalled completely. Managers can consider ways to help bring up their activity levels, develop their talent and grow.
This kind of enlightened coaching improves the sales experience, increasing retention.
3. Sales tools
Even the best-laid compensation plans can be undermined by a lack of effective tools to support sales reps’ daily activities. Sales rep retention requires maintaining sales technology systems that boost sales efficiency instead of creating more busy work.
Three areas in which outdated tools can hurt sales rep morale include:
- Static and limited CPQ models that don’t allow sales reps to easily generate complex product configurations and pricing for all types of account scenarios.
- Sales commission calculations based on spreadsheets and don’t offer visibility into how sales reps are earning and tracking against their revenue goals.
- Territories and quotas that are developed using manual methods, which can fuel skepticism and lead to sales rep churn.
To improve retention, sales leaders should look to invest into automated technologies that can support sales rep efficiency, preferably with an integrated approach into all areas of the sales process. A holistic approach with integrated tools for sales enablement, CPQ, Commissions, and forecasting will ensure your sales reps remain motivated and happy.